Epochs of the Universe – Mission 02: The Grand Unified Theory Era
You are embarking on a journey through space and time itself. Back through time, you traverse the eras of the universe, closer and closer to the beginning of everything. Your voyage explores all stages, or epochs of the universe, from the start until this moment.
Plus, you have the only CosmoControl, to rewind, fast-forward, pause or resume space and time.
GRAND UNIFIED THEORY ERA: MISSION TIMELINE
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GRAND UNIFIED THEORY ERA: MISSION MAP
GRAND UNIFIED THEORY ERA: MISSION DATA
Current Epoch: Grand Unified Theory Era
Age of the Universe: One quattuordecillionth of a second (10-43 seconds)
Size of the Universe: Subatomic
Current Temperature: 180 octillion degrees F
Previously, you witnessed the extremely brief Planck Era, lasting for only a shred of one second. Still, pure darkness and chaos rule the universe. Temperature and pressure are still so extreme that only basic particles exist. Although, even they scatter wildly throughout the universe, unable to form even basic atoms.
Suddenly, space and time resume. Instantly, you pick up at the moment the Planck Era concludes, in the Grand Unified Theory Era (GUT Era). Yet, this is still only a mere fraction of time after the big bang. In fact, only one quattuordecillionth of a single second has passed!
What do you see?
While scanning your mission data, you notice something strange. During the end of the Planck Era, all four fundamental forces of the universe acted as one! Gravity, electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces all combined to form a single, super force.
Confused by this, you eagerly scour data for the current epoch, the Grand Unified Theory Era. Immediately, you notice gravity has somehow broken off to become its own, individual force. However, strong, weak and electro- forces remain combined! But, you quickly recall learning about this combined force in your mission training. Indeed, this “tri-force” is known as the Grand Unification Theory (G.U.T.)! As a result, your mission log notes that these remaining forces are referred to as the electronuclear force.
Technically, the universe has now changed. Despite the minuscule time that has passed, the universe has both grown, and cooled. However, your human brain sees and experiences little, or no change. Actually, the entire universe is still crammed into a quantum-sized speck.
Not to mention, extreme conditions still only allow basic particles, like protons, to exist. But, even these basic components still bounce chaotically, unable to form any familiar matter. Like both previous epochs, the first single photon of light has not yet been created. Light is not yet a…thing!
Using your CosmoControl, you allow the Grand Unified Theory Era to play in extremely slow motion. Perhaps, you will notice something interesting?
Actually, the size seems to expand by factors of trillions in virtually no time at all. In fact, the entire Grand Unified Theory Era only lasts until 1-undecillionth of a second after the big bang!
However, as this epoch ends, you notice that the nuclear strong force has suddenly broken off into its own individual force! Now, it appears that only two fundamental forces (electromagnetism and weak nuclear) will remain combined. And, as this force transformation occurs, unimaginable amounts of energy are released. Your CosmoControl is off the charts! This sudden energy spike creates an invisible field that seems to supercharge everything in the universe. Certainly, you have just witnessed the effects of dark matter and dark energy!
At this time, pieces of the universe the size of an atom grow to be as large as our entire solar system! Plus, this miraculous size transformation happens in a blip of a single second!
What do you feel?
Unfortunately, temperatures during the Grand Unified Theory Era are still tragically high. Indeed, the universe has “cooled,” allowing fundamental forces to transform. Yet, “cool” still means a sweltering 180-octillion degrees Fahrenheit!
At such staggering temperatures, still little-or-no matter exists. Fundamental particles, like protons and electrons still scatter erratically throughout the universe.
Presently, the universe has now dramatically expanded in inflation. As a result, the universe’s size in now trillions of times larger. Yet, density and pressure remains unbearable. However, compared to previous epochs, the universe is no longer jammed into microscopic spaces. Therefore, while still immense, pressure readings slowly begin dropping.
At last, the universe you are familiar with gradually begins taking shape. Plus, amazingly, this incredible transformation has all taken place in a mere sliver of a single second after the big bang!
What is really happening? Scientific explanation.
In an early universe, all four fundamental forces were combined as one super force. However, as the universe cooled ever so slightly, symmetry fell apart, allowing forces to “break off,” becoming individual forces.
For instance, the extremely small temperature drop at the close of the Planck Era caused gravity to break free as its own unique force. As a result, the Grand Unified Theory believes electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear forces remained combined. Hence, this epoch’s name, the Grand Unified Theory Era! Finally, as the GUT Era ends, we see the strong nuclear force break off, leaving the weak force and electromagnetism combined.
However, as this magical transformation from two forces to to three takes place, an unimaginable amount of pure energy is given off. Amidst this cosmic breakup, an invisible energy field is formed. And, as all currently existing matter interacts with this field, it becomes energized. Ultimately, this newly-energized matter expands, or inflates, rapidly. In fact, so rapidly that atom-sized pieces of the universe become the size of our entire solar system at faster than light speeds!
Historically, this transformation exceeding light speeds created doubts. Modern physics tells us that such speeds are not possible. However, it is spacetime itself that expands during the GUT Era. Therefore, classical physics remains safe and intact!
At last, a slightly more recognizable universe has begun to take place! Yet, still at tiny fragments of one second after the big bang, the universe is still in utter chaos. Unfortunately, light is not yet born. Molecules, “normal” matter, and even atoms do not yet exist in space.
However, on a very positive note, the universe has grown tremendously. In a microscopic amount of time, atom-sized pieces of the universe are now enormous and vast realms.
For the first time in 10-43 seconds, you feel hopeful. Encouraged, you click skip on your CosmoControl, eager to arrive in the Electroweak Era!PREVIOUS: Planck Era NEXT: Electroweak Era